Those with Limited Mobility at Risk from Snow Covered Walkways

A fine isn't the only risk you face by not shoveling

Snow covered sidewalks can be an annoyance for everyone but for those with physical disabilities they can be dangerous.

“You pretty much have to have bare pavement or you’re going to be at risk of getting stuck,” said Executive Director of the Freedom Resource Center,  Nate Aalgaard.

Aalgaard is wheelchair bound and winter can be an especially tough time.

“There’s a bus stop half a block from my house. Pretty much all winter I’m not going to be riding the bus because I just don’t know what that street is going to be like,” said Aalgaard.

Poorly maintained sidewalks can become completely inaccessible to him and others with physical impairments.

“If they are eligible they can ride the para–transit bus. Otherwise, it’s trying to figure something else out,” said Aalgaard.

A poorly shoveled handicapped space can prevent wheel chair ramps from functioning properly.

Icy walkways can also be extra dangerous for people who need assistance to walk.

“Falling down on this kind of stuff can really be dangerous. Even people who are pretty young and able can break wrists and sprain things,” said Aalgaard.

Aside from your moral responsibility to properly maintain your sidewalks, in the City of Fargo it’s also your legal responsibility and if you don’t you could get a fine.

If you see a poorly maintained walkway you’re encouraged to report it.

“We put a post it on the door and give the property owner 24 hours to clear the sidewalk and then we re–inspect and if it’s not cleared by then, we go back and clear it for them,” said Mark Williams with Fargo Public Works.

Homeowners have 24 hours after snow falls to get their sidewalks shoveled or else they could face a minimum $75 fine.

So far since the last snow storm there have been at least a dozen complaints on roughly 30 properties.

For instructions on how to file a complaint, click this link.

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